In light of recent road deaths, the president of the Barbados Road Safety Association, Charmaine Roland-Bowen, is calling on the authorities to fast forward proposed breathalyzer testing legislation.
She told Barbados TODAY that people needed to be educated that when they are going out to parties and plan to consume alcohol, they should have a designated driver to take them home. She said the much-discussed breathalyzer testing legislation was long overdue.
“In an accident, one can only say that there are a number of things you need to look at. You need to look at fatigue driving because it was in the wee hours of the morning when your body needs rest,” Roland-Bowen said.
She added: “We cannot hold back our tongues. It is obvious we need to look at drinking and driving, drunken driving. What alcohol does is it diminishes your thinking capacity.”
The road safety advocate stressed that education, along with effective enforcement of traffic laws, were important for the reduction of road accidents.
For the year so far, Barbados has recorded 19 road fatalities, compared with 14 for the whole of last year and 18 in 2013.
“It is all about education. People need to be educated about the dangers of unsafe driving,” Roland-Bowen said.
She also called on authorities to look at introducing a graduated driver’s licence system, used in a number of countries. The aim is to make under 25 drivers safer on the road, by controlling their driving habits through restrictions.
“They want you to get experience but under low risk conditions,” she explained.
“Here, from 16 years old, we give a child a full licence in their hands. They could do anything they like as an experienced driver but we need to protect those persons as well. Young people take risks. They feel that accidents happen to older people.” (AH)